Adam Silver

Adam Silver Discusses Balancing Mid-Season Tournament With NBA Tradition

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been a long-time proponent for adding a mid-season tournament, but he recognizes there would be a difficult balance between promoting the new event and maintaining the importance of the regular season. Silver discussed the challenges involved during an interview with Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.

No matter when the tournament would take place, it will require a reduction in the regular season schedule, which has been set at 82 games per team since the 1967/68 season.

“The last thing I’m trying to suggest is that we don’t value our current regular season, it’s enormously valuable,” Silver said. “These teams care a lot about home-court advantage, and people can’t get enough of NBA basketball.”

A new tournament would be modeled after similar events in European soccer, providing all the teams with a break during the season and a new prize to play for. To be implemented, it would require agreement from the players union and two-thirds majority approval from the Board of Governors.

Silver provided a tournament update last week during his annual NBA Finals press conference, but admitted “we’re not there yet” as far as working out the details.

In his interview with Goodwill, Silver promised that regardless of what schedule changes are required, each team will continue to host every other team at least once per season.

“I think that’s critically important,” he said. “Everybody wants to see, even if it’s a cross-country trip, that wherever that player is on that team that plays in the other conference, they should have the opportunity to see that player at least once.”

Silver recognizes that as a new event, it may take some time for the tournament to catch on with both fans and players. The public may view is as just another event on an already-crowded winter sports calendar, while athletes may see it as a chance to rest if the stakes aren’t high enough.

“I’ll say I recognize that [if] we do that, it’s not going to be an overnight success,” Silver admitted. “Because the obvious question, whether it’s from the players or for the fans will be, ‘What? Why should we think this is meaningful? Playing in-season tournaments?’ My response is going to be, ‘I get that.’ But I think we can create new traditions, obviously, things change over time. And so that’s something I’m very focused on right now.”

Silver Addresses Expansion, Blazers, All-NBA Teams, In-Season Tournament

The NBA isn’t planning to expand in the near future, according to commissioner Adam Silver. During his annual press conference prior to Game 1 of the Finals, he shot down a report that the league is targeting Seattle and Las Vegas for expansion in 2024, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press reports.

“We are not discussing that at this time,” Silver said.

Silver said the league will inevitably expand and called Seattle and Las Vegas “wonderful markets.” However, he cited a lack of top-tier talent as a reason for pumping the brakes on expanding in the next couple of seasons.

“There still are only so many of the truly top-tier super talents to go around,” he said. “That is something on the mind of the other teams as we think about expansion.”

Here are some of the other highlights from Silver’s press conference:

  • With many teams moving toward position-less lineups, All-NBA teams may be determined differently in future seasons. “We’re going to discuss that with the players and sit down once again and see if there’s a better way to do it,” Silver said.
  • Amid reports that Nike co-founder Phil Knight and Los Angeles Dodgers co-owner Alan Smolinisky made an offer to buy the Trail Blazers for more than $2 billion, Silver stated the Blazers will eventually be sold and he hopes they’ll remain in Portland. The Blazers released a statement on Thursday saying the team is not for sale. “At some point, the team will be sold,” Silver said. “I don’t have any sense of the precise timing. … This is a hugely a complex estate, and although it’s been several years, these things take time.”
  • An in-season tournament is still a possibility but “we’re not there yet,” Silver said. With so many teams giving key players nights off during various points of the season, Silver wants to ensure the tournament is competitive. “We want to make sure we have a system where our best players are incentivized to be on the floor,” Silver said.

Adam Silver Concerned About Star Players Missing Games

Commissioner Adam Silver spoke to the media on Wednesday following a two-day meeting of the NBA’s Board of Governors, and he said one of his primary concerns at the moment is “a trend of star players not participating in a full complement of games,” according ESPN’s Tim Bontemps.

I’m not standing here saying I have a great solution,” Silver said. “Part of the issue is injuries. One of the things we have focused on at the league office and we’re spending — we had begun to spend a lot of time on pre-pandemic — are there things we can do in terms of sharing information, resources around the league to improve best practices, rehabilitation?

The other way we can get at it, in terms of player participation, is creating other incentives. The play-in tournament, I thought, was a beginning of creating renewed incentives for teams to remain competitive and be fighting for playoff position. It may be through in-season tournaments and changes in format where we can get at it.”

Silver also said the league could look at shortening the 82-game regular season, if necessary.

I also have said in the past, if we have too many games, that’s something we should look at as well,” Silver said. “It’s something, as we sit down and we’re looking at new media deals and looking at a new collective bargaining agreement, we will be studying. There wasn’t any banging of the table or anything like that.

From my discussions with players, they recognize it’s an issue, too. The style of the game has changed in terms of the impact on their bodies. I think we’ve got to constantly assess and look at a marketplace going forward and say, what’s the best way to present our product and over how long a season?”

Here are some more highlights of Silver’s press conference, courtesy of Bontemps:

  • Silver said there was no concrete conversation regarding Ben Simmons‘ pending arbitration to recoup lost salary from the Sixers, and the league would not be involved in the litigation process.
  • The league has not discussed moving the All-Star game from Utah next season despite an anti-LGBTQ law recently passing. When asked the difference between this situation and Charlotte in 2017, Silver said, in part, “Every situation is unique…I would just say I have tremendous respect for (Jazz owner) Ryan Smith. I think he stood up against this bill. We’ve joined him in opposing this bill. But we also want to be realistic, too, in terms of the impact we can have. In the case of HB2 in North Carolina, I think it was our collective view, we working with the Hornets, that we could have an impact on that legislation. I think in the case of what’s happening in Utah right now, that bill is established.”
  • Silver said there was no update on the investigation into Suns owner Robert Sarver‘s alleged misconduct, other than to say it’s still ongoing and “closer to the end than the beginning, but it’s hard to put a precise timeline on it right now.” He also said the league was monitoring Donnie Nelson‘s lawsuit against the Mavericks.
  • The commissioner reiterated that he’s pleased with the play-in tournament and expects it to stay, but it could see a few tweaks moving forward.
  • The league is focused on trying to eliminate “take fouls” to prevent fast breaks, and changes could come as soon as next season, but there are obstacles to that happening. “That is something, as you know, we’re very focused on and considering making a change for next season,” Silver said. “We still have some work to do with our competition committee. We’ll be meeting with the board again in July, which would be a possible time to change that rule. But as we’re seeing sort of a pretty dramatic increase in take fouls, we don’t think it’s a great part of our game. International basketball has another way of getting at it, but that is something that potentially we’d like to tweak.”

Adam Silver Says Sixers Aren’t Being Investigated For Tampering In Harden Trade

There were some complaints around the league regarding the circumstances that led to the Sixers’ trade for James Harden, but the team isn’t under investigation for tampering, writes Joe Varden of The Athletic.

Some executives in rival front offices considered asking for tampering charges based on suspicions that Philadelphia was talking to Harden about signing in the offseason if a trade with the Nets couldn’t be completed, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported recently. Harden has a close relationship with Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and chief executive officer Tad Brown from his time in Houston, and he’s a friend of co-owner Michael Rubin.

[RELATED: Sixers/Harden Chatter Raises Tampering Suspicions]

NBA commissioner Adam Silver addressed the situation tonight during his annual All-Star Weekend press conference and confirmed that no investigation is being conducted.

“It’s no secret that I’ve expressed my unhappiness with public trade demands,” Silver said. “I think you’re dealing with a situation where you have players with literally a unique skill on the planet, and that’s always going to give them leverage. And you have teams with leverage. … I mean there may be tools that we can think of to create stronger incentives for players to comply with those agreements, but there’s no silver bullet here, that we’re going to go in and collectively bargain and say, ‘now we fix this problem.’”

Silver touched on numerous other topics during the media session:

  • He continues to express optimism about an in-season tournament, saying the play-in tourney has helped build momentum for change, Varden adds. “In some ways, the players have been more receptive to the possibility of an in-season tournament because the play-in has been a bit more successful,” Silver said.
  • Silver expressed concern about the situation involving Rockets guard John Wall, saying, “Of course I think it’s a problem when players are paid not to play,” tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Wall hasn’t played at all this season under a mutual agreement with the rebuilding team.
  • With COVID-19 regulations easing around the country, Silver hopes a resolution can be reached involving the New York City vaccine mandate that has prevented Nets guard Kyrie Irving from playing in home games, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
  • Silver confirmed that the investigation into the Suns organization and owner Robert Sarver is still ongoing, but didn’t offer any updates, according to Bontemps (Twitter link).
  • Silver said no regular-season games will be played in Europe next year, but some teams may travel there during the preseason, Bontemps adds (via Twitter).
  • The halftime ceremony for Sunday’s All-Star Game will honor the 75th anniversary team, and Silver expects about 50 of the 61 living members to be on hand, tweets Marc Stein of Substack.

Nets Notes: Durant, Harris, Adams, Irving, Mills, Simmons

The Nets will face the Celtics next Thursday in their first game after the All-Star break. Don’t expect Kevin Durant to be in uniform for that game, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Coach Steve Nash said Durant will be eased back into action from his knee injury.

“I’m not like, ‘He’s going to play right when the break ends.’ There’s obviously a small chance, but we want to be really careful because a setback would be tough when there are 20 or so games left,” Nash said. “We don’t want to jeopardize there and have a setback where he misses another six to 12 games, so I think we’ll be cautious coming out of the break. There’s a chance he could play, but I think it’s more likely that we don’t get our hopes that he’s going to play the first game out of the break.”

Durant hasn’t played since January 15.

We have more on the Nets:

  • It’s been two weeks since reports revealed that Joe Harris was mulling a second ankle surgery. Nothing has changed in that regard, Lewis notes in the same story. “I think everything’s on the table at this point,” Nash said. “We hope that he comes back, but we have no idea where this is going to go at this point.”
  • New New York City mayor Eric Adams agrees with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver that current city rules barring Kyrie Irving from playing home games, while opposing players don’t face the same sanctions, are unjust, Sam Raskin of the New York Post writes. “First of all, I think the rule’s unfair. I believe that we are saying to out-of-town athletes that they can come in and not be vaccinated, yet New York athletes do have to be vaccinated,” Adams said. However, Adams is concerned about “sending the wrong message” by lifting the sanctions altogether for fear of another outbreak.
  • Veteran point guard Patty Mills hasn’t been teammates with Ben Simmons for very long but senses that his fellow Australian is hungry to reestablish himself, Nick Friedell of ESPN relays. “His demeanor and his desire not only to get back on the floor but make a significant impact — he’s got a lot of, I believe, fire built up underneath him that has a desire to get back and be the player that he is, and even get better, and even grow and even develop,” Mills said. “And that’s one thing that I’m excited to be in the same room and locker room as him to do my part to help him develop and help him grow and help in any way possible there.”

Adam Silver Says In-Season Tournament Is Getting Closer

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who has been a long-time proponent of an in-season tournament, believes the idea is moving closer to reality, writes Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. He said the tournament won’t be implemented right away, but last year’s shortened season showed that fans are willing to accept fewer than 82 games.

“I think we were moving closer to it,” Silver said. “But I feel we’ve had productive conversations with the Players Association, whose approval, of course, would be required to change the format. And my sense is there’s a fair amount of interest.”

Silver didn’t offer many details about the proposed tournament, but Goodwill states that the league is looking for ways to energize players during the long grind of a regular season. Silver has shown a willingness to break with tradition, Goodwill notes, such as adopting the Elam Ending for the All-Star Game.

Silver envisions a plan that is based on tournaments from European soccer and college basketball. He doesn’t want to create an event that will take away from the uniqueness of an NBA championship, but something that will be a separate goal that players can shoot for. There has been talk of offering a $1MM prize per player for the tournament champions, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Silver wants to keep the NBA calendar relatively stable, starting in mid-October and ending with the Finals in mid- to late June. The tournament would be worked in somewhere, but not exactly at mid-season.

“There’s tournaments [in other sports] along the way where players, I’m sure feel an extra boost of competitiveness around winning a particular trophy,” Silver said. “And that’s what we’re looking at. It’s complicated.”

Adam Silver Discusses NYC’s Vaccine Mandate

Appearing on Wednesday on ESPN’s Get Up, NBA commissioner Adam Silver questioned the application of New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate, as Andrew Lopez of ESPN writes. The city’s regulations have kept Nets guard Kyrie Irving from playing at the Barclays Center or Madison Square Garden this season because he is still unvaccinated.

While Silver made it clear he believes everyone should get vaccinated and boosted, he suggested that New York City should reevaluate an ordinance that is applied unevenly to home players and visiting players.

“This law in New York, the oddity of it to me is that it only applies to home players,” Silver said. “I think if ultimately that rule is about protecting people who are in the arena, it just doesn’t quite make sense to me that an away player who is unvaccinated can play in Barclays, but the home player can’t. To me, that’s a reason they should take a look at that ordinance.”

With local officials beginning to roll back more and more COVID-related restrictions in New York City and elsewhere, Silver said he wouldn’t be surprised if the city reconsiders its restrictions on unvaccinated individuals before the end of the NBA’s season.

“I can imagine a scenario where Brooklyn, as part of New York City, with a new mayor now who wasn’t in place, Eric Adams, when that original ordinance was put into place, I could see him deciding to change along the way and say it’s no longer necessary to have a mandatory vaccination requirement, as I said particularly one that only affects home players,” Silver said.

After telling Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports that he didn’t love how the Ben Simmons and James Harden trade drama played out so publicly over many weeks and months, Silver followed up on that topic during his Get Up appearance today. Noting that the NBA’s move toward shorter-term contracts has resulted in more superstar movement than ever, Silver said that can be a good thing for the league as long as it’s done the right way.

“The data shows that superstars moving isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it allows bad situations to, in an orderly way, to change,” Silver said, per Lopez. “It gives teams that may not be in a competitive position hope that they can sign one of those players. But shorter contracts to me is something very different – and free agents moving at the end of contracts is different – than what we just saw, where you have players actively seeking to move while they’re under contract. The data is clear on that. That’s not good for the league.”

Adam Silver Comments On Harden-Simmons Trade, Press Conferences

NBA commissioner Adam Silver was not a fan of the way new Sixers All-Star guard James Harden or new Nets player Ben Simmons, the centerpieces of a trade for each other last week, forced their way off their former teams’ rosters. In a conversation with Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports, Silver discussed the transaction.

“Players forcing their way out of situations is not new in this league,” Silver said. “I’d love to find a way where to the extent there’s player movement, it didn’t happen in that fashion.”

Silver’s big issue with the deal was the very public nature of the players’ grievances.

“I accept that there will always be conversations behind closed doors, when teams are unhappy, or players are unhappy, [but] the last thing you want to see is for these issues to play out publicly,” Silver said. “One of the things that I continue to do in my role is to think about ways we can improve the system.”

In his first press remarks as a Sixer today, Harden suggested that he had wanted to join All-Star center Joel Embiid in Philadelphia since forcing his way off the Rockets roster during the 2020/21 season, when he was initially shipped to Brooklyn. Harden also allowed that the limited availability of Nets point guard Kyrie Irving had some influence on his decision to demand a trade from the team. Irving has long refused to get vaccinated against COVID-19, and due to New York’s current vaccine mandate, is not allowed to play at home games for Brooklyn.

Ben Simmons had an interesting press conference of his own today, telling reporters that mental health issues played a big part in his controversial decision to refuse to suit up for 54 games with the Sixers this season prior to the trade.

“I did watch a little bit of James and Ben’s press conferences earlier today,” Silver continued. “And you’re reminded that when you see them sitting up there, on those podiums doing these interviews, these are human beings, who, in both cases, have gone through very stressful situations.”

Adam Silver: No Plans To Pause NBA Season

Appearing on ESPN’s NBA Today (video links) on Tuesday, league commissioner Adam Silver told Malika Andrews that, despite having an increasing number of its teams affected by outbreaks of COVID-19, the NBA has no intention of putting the 2021/22 season on hiatus.

“(There are) no plans to pause the season,” Silver said. “We’ve of course looked at all the options, but frankly, we’re having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now. … It seems for us that the right and responsible thing to do, taking all the factors into consideration, is to continue to play.”

As Silver explained, the NBA’s stance is that there’s no chance at this point of eradicating the virus, so the league and its teams will have to learn to “live with it.” The NBA and the players’ union recently agreed to tweak a handful of roster rules to make it easier for teams to sign replacements when players test positive for COVID-19, which should help avoid postponements.

Silver made several more interesting comments during his ESPN appearance. Here are a few of the highlights:

  • Silver said that very few of the individuals around the NBA who have received a booster vaccination shot have experienced breakthrough cases, and most of those cases have been asymptomatic. Silver estimated that about 97% of NBA players are vaccinated, but only about 65% have been boosted — the league is hoping to push that number higher.
  • Asked if the league has revisited the idea of mandatory vaccinations for players, Silver said it hasn’t been broached recently. “I’d rather focus on the 97% than the 3%,” Silver said, referring to the league’s vaccinated players. “Incidentally, many of the 3% have now gotten COVID, so they’ve developed antibodies. To me, the focus right now is on boosters for the 97% of players who have been vaccinated.”
  • The NBA isn’t prepared to allow vaccinated players who have asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 to play, but is “actively” exploring ways to reduce the amount of time players have to spend in the protocols. “I think (medical experts are) already realizing that you can move away from the 10-day protocol when you have players who are vaccinated and boosted,” Silver said. “It seems that the virus runs through their systems faster. They become not just asymptomatic but – more importantly – they’re not shedding the virus anymore.”
  • Most of the players testing positive this month have contracted the Omicron variant of COVID-19, according to Silver. “It’s beyond dominant in the league right now,” he said. “We’re up probably around 90% of the cases right now that we’re sequencing are Omicron.”

Atlantic Notes: Simmons, Irving, Mills, Carter, Williams, Robinson

Ben Simmons is expected to address the media Tuesday before the Sixers leave for New Orleans to face the Pelicans on Wednesday, Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. It’s uncertain whether Simmons will suit up for the opener.

“We’ve been together for three weeks, so we’ve established a good rhythm,” coach Doc Rivers said. “So the more he’s been in, the more he does, especially when we’re working on our offensive stuff earlier, because we’ve built from last year but we tweaked a lot of stuff. But it’s easy to pick up — especially for him.”

A source recently told The Athletic’s Sam Amick that Simmons plans to play in games, rather than sitting out while awaiting a trade.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Commissioner Adam Silver said the Nets’ decision to sit Kyrie Irving and the city ordinance that led to that decision is not a league issue, Bontemps writes in a separate story. The Players Association never agreed to a vaccine mandate and Irving is prohibited from playing in Brooklyn unless he’s vaccinated. “This is between Irving and New York City right now,” Silver said. “This is not a league issue … but I think it would have been best for everyone if every player were vaccinated.”
  • With Irving out indefinitely, the Nets will need more out of Patty Mills and Jevon Carter, Zach Brazilier of the New York Post writes. Mills signed with Brooklyn on a two-year contract in free agency, while Carter was acquired in the Landry Shamet deal.
  • The Celtics have an open roster spot after waiving Jabari Parker but they’re not planning to fill it immediately, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. Head coach Ime Udoka said they plan to see who else becomes available around the league but with Boston projected as a taxpaying team, the roster could remain at 14 for the time being.
  • The Celtics rewarded Robert Williams with a four-year extension in August. The goal now is to keep the young center healthy, Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald writes. “He’s a young guy we do want to build his role and minutes overall, and a big part of that is staying healthy, so we’re on him about lifting the weights, getting his treatment, take care of himself off the court as well as what we ask him to do on the court,” Udoka said.
  • Mitchell Robinson is still working his way back from a foot injury, though the young Knicks center plans to play in the team’s opener, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. Robinson played in the Knicks’ preseason finale on Friday. “Once I get my conditioning back — that’s the main thing — so I can play all day, I’ll be all right,” he said.